I have covered American politics for two decades and never have I
seen a party more ferociously committed to supporting whatever it
is their leader tells them to support.
The problem for Republicans is that the main thing Trump has told
them to support is himself. There are no detailed policy
proposals, much less a coherent ideology or set of governing
principles. And so speech after speech followed the same template:
How was America going to stop the coronavirus? By reelecting
Donald Trump. How was it going to revive its economy? By
reelecting Donald Trump. How was it going to ensure domestic
harmony? By reelecting Donald Trump.
The contradiction at the heart of the convention, of course, is
that Donald Trump is currently president. I’m dead serious. How
would reelecting Trump resolve these crises that Trump has proven
unable to resolve — and has, in many cases, worsened — in
office? No one even took a shot at that Rubik’s cube. Instead, the
speakers awkwardly talked around the fact of Trump’s incumbency.
He was presented, strangely, as both incumbent and challenger; the
man who had fixed America’s problems, but also the man needed to
fix an America beset by more problems than ever.